The shape: Think Hayden Panettiere or Jessica Biel—broad across the back and shoulders, narrower through the hips. Athletic builds are often short-waisted (and maybe a little thick-waisted), tend to have square silhouettes, and will have a lower ratio of fat to muscle than curvy or pear-shaped body types. Swimsuits can be tough to find for athletic builds, because what fits the bottom half will often be too small to stretch over the top.
The Rx: Athletic women don’t generally need too much toning. But a bikini begs for a little balance, as well as a little nip through the waist for a sexy silhouette. Tummy-tightening core moves, along with lower-body exercises that shape the glutes and thighs, are the perfect complement to this already strong build.
The Best Workouts
Monday: For each exercise shown, do 1 set of the prescribed repetitions, rest 30 seconds, then do another set of that same exercise. To amp up your results, follow your strength workout with a round of Smart Cardio Intervals.
Wednesday: Perform the moves circuit style: Do the prescribed number of repetitions for each exercise, with no rest between exercises. After you’ve done all of the exercises once, rest two minutes. Perform the entire circuit 3 times, resting two minutes between each circuit.
Friday: Perform each set of two exercises back-to-back, with no rest between each exercise. Rest 30 to 60 seconds before repeating the set one more time.
SET 1 Curtsy Lunge with Front Raise, Hundred on the Ball
SET 2 Swivel Squat, Mermaid
SET 3 Tip and Row, Alternating Side Lunge
SET 4 Alternating Side Lunge, Pushup and Leg Raise
Nothing scorches calories or firms your muscles like fighting gravity. Follow your Friday strength-training sequence with the following Butt-Busting Hill Repeats—which can be done on a treadmill, elliptical trainer, or stationary bike.
MOVE 1Curtsy Lunge with Front Raise
Tones: Butt, thighs, and shoulders
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, holding a dumbbell in your left hand and resting your right hand on your hip. Take a giant step back and to the right with your left leg, so if you were standing on a clock facing 12, your left toes would end up at the 5 o’clock position. (A) Bend your knees and lower your hips toward the floor until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. At the same time, raise your left arm (the one with the dumbbell in it) straight out in front of you to shoulder height. (B) Return to start. Complete a full set; then switch sides. 10 to 12 reps per side
MOVE 2Swivel Squat
Tones: Butt, thighs, and core
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and extend your arms straight out in front of you. Bend your knees and sit back until your legs are bent 45 to 90 degrees; make sure to keep your knees from extending over your toes. (A) Press back to a standing position as you rotate your torso and outstretched arms to the right. (B) Rotate back to the center and immediately perform another squat, this time rotating to the left as you stand. Both sides makes one rep. The sequence is this: Squat, stand—while simultaneously twisting to the side—then twist back to the center. 10 to 12 reps
To make the move more challenging, hold a medicine ball.
MOVE 3Tip and Row
Tones: Butt and back
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms by your sides holding weights. Lift your right leg straight up behind you as you bend from the hips to lower your upper body forward. Your torso and right leg should be parallel to the floor and your arms hanging straight down, palms facing each other. (A) Bend your elbows and pull the weights straight up to either side of your chest. (B) Lower the weights and return to a standing position. Repeat, this time lifting the left leg behind you as you tip forward. Alternate for a full set. 8 to 10 reps per side
MOVE 4Alternating Side Lunge
Tones: Thighs, butt, and core
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, holding dumbbells down at your sides.(A) Take a giant step to the right, dropping your butt back (keeping your knee from extending over your toes) and pretending to place the weights on either side of your foot. (B) Press back to start. Then immediately repeat the move to the left. 10 to 12 reps per side
MOVE 5Lift-off Lunge
Tones: Butt, thighs, shoulders, triceps, and core
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold dumbbells up at your shoulders—elbows bent and pointing out to the sides, palms facing forward. Take a giant step forward with your right leg and lower your body until your knees are bent 90 degrees. Your knees should be in line with your ankles. (A) Press into your right foot, straighten your right leg, and come to a stand, simultaneously pulling your left knee forward in front of your hips (so you’re standing on one leg) and pressing the weights up toward the ceiling. (B) Return to start. Repeat with your left leg. 10 to 12 reps per leg
To make the move more challenging, place your front foot on a step.
Tones: Core (especially obliques) and shoulders
Assume a side plank position, with your right elbow on the floor directly beneath your shoulder. Stagger your feet so your left foot is in front of your right foot. (A) Raise your left arm directly overhead—bicep next to your ear, arm extended, and with your palm facing the floor—so your arm is in line with your body. Arch your left arm towards the floor as you raise your hips up in the air. (B) Return to start. Repeat for a full set; then switch sides. 8 to 10 reps
MOVE 7Pushup and Leg Raise
Tones: Shoulders, triceps, chest, and core
Lie facedown on a fitness ball, with both hands on the floor. Walk your hands out, allowing the ball to roll beneath your body until it is under your shins. Your hands should be directly below your shoulders, so it looks like you’re ready to do a pushup. Keeping your torso straight and your abs contracted, bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the floor. Stop when your upper arms are parallel to the floor. (A) Return to start, and immediately contract your glutes as you lift your right leg off the ball. (B) Lower your right leg to the ball, then lift the left leg. That’s one rep. 8 to 12 reps
Make the move harder by placing the ball under the tops of your feet. Make it easier by keeping the ball under your knees.
MOVE 8Hundred on the Ball
Lie on your back with your arms by your sides. Bend your knees to 90 degrees and place your calves on a fitness ball. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor, making sure to keep your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed. (Put your head down at any time if you feel stress in the upper body.) (A) Take 5 short, consecutive inhales, followed by 5 short, consecutive exhales. Do this 10 times for 1 rep. At the same time, lift arms off mat and pulse them up and down palms facing down, in unison with the breath. (B) 10 reps, 100 breaths per rep.
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